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Can you tell me more about getting published?

  1. Don't stop trying. It can take time to get published. It took me eight years. Just keep at it, and remember that this job is like any other. You wouldn't expect to become a medical doctor without first doing a lot of study, research, and practice. In the same way, you don't usually jump from aspiring writer to professional without a lot of effort and practice.
  2. Don't stop writing. The best way to break in is to either finish several good short stories or one good novel, then start submitting them to publishers. However, while you do that, make sure you keep writing on new projects. Don't pin all of your hopes on one story or book. If you're in this for the long haul, you'll need to be able to write consistently and produce numerous stories and novels.
  3. Do start looking for an agent. The time for this is usually when you finish your first novel.  Research literary agents by looking at your favorite novels in the genres you read, then checking the acknowledgments and the author's websites to see if they mention their agent. Use Google and see if you can discover who represents that author. If all else fails, email the authors and ask who their agent is.
  4. Do start submitting your books to editors. I personally feel it's best to be searching for an agent and a publisher at the same time. Getting one interested in your book will often mean it's much easier to get the other. Some people disagree with this approach, and suggest you only send to agents at first. I think this narrows the number of places you can send books. Plus, I got a publisher without getting an agent first (Though I got one within a few days of a publisher offering on one of my books). You research publishers the same way you do agents. The book Writer's Market can be a useful resource for finding addresses for agents/editors. But always check their websites first to read their submission guidelines. Some agents aren't looking for new clients, others only want to see query letters at first.
  5. If you can afford it, attend writing conventions like Worldcon or World Fantasy Convention. A lot of publishers congregate in these places, and you can meet them in person and get advice on publishing and maybe even get them to agree to read some of your materials.
  6. Finally, beware of scams. Look through the archives of the Writer Beware Blog or Miss Snark's blog for more hints and help. Be very wary of a publisher whose books you can't go to your local bookshop and find on the shelves, and be very wary of any agent who doesn't represent authors you've heard of (Newer agents who work at established agencies with big clients are usually safe, though). You should also avoid publishers who ask you for money before publishing your book. A reputable publisher will pay you, not the other way around.
  7. How does it feel to get published? One word. Awesome. When you work so long for something like this--it took me eight years to finally get published--it completely blows your mind when it finally happens.